In my next painting from this barn series, I wanted to show the personality and individuality of this red barn, since it was built by hand from nearby trees on the property by the owner’s family. I almost feel like it has a playful twinkle in its windows, inviting us to come closer and check out it’s hand-carved timbers and discover what stories it holds. Juxtaposed behind this sturdy oak, two enduring souls, are loaded with character, texture and rustic beauty, monuments to a simpler disappearing way of life.
Having grown up in Chicago, my husband and I return to the Midwest every summer, driving through miles of farmland between Texas and Illinois. While sometimes stark, I also find a peacefulness in the wide open countryside, a nostalgic tug on a simpler time from my childhood, and a fascination with the rustic beauty of each barn. I find it inspiring that so many of the structures were built by the farmers themselves from nearby trees, cut down and fashioned by hand. Each one has its unique personality, both pragmatic and aesthetic, a symbol that’s stood the test of time despite a disappearing way of life. In “Branching Out,” I wanted to juxtapose this sturdy oak framing an iconic red barn in the background, inviting you to climb its branches and relive childhood memories.
Shimmering colors of autumn: Aspen and Oak trees quiver, their light graceful leaves tremble and quake, silver and gold, scarlet and tangerine, with each light breeze. There is the quiet energy of change coming and vibrant color charges the woods. Crisp fall mountain air, a band of slender straight trunks cut bright strokes of white against a dazzling tumble of amber and crimson. Staccato strokes and shimmering hues add to the feeling of change in the air and suggest the wind whistling through the foliage.
On this trip, it felt like we were flying up and down these curvy mountain roads almost like we were on an adult roller coaster. So I wanted to have a little fun in my painting and capture that sense of movement and playful excitement. Choosing bright vivid colors an curving my strokes almost in a fish-eye composition, add to the youthful energy and thrill of adventure that I wanted to communicate.
While driving from Santa Fe to Taos, this scene literally stopped me in my tracks. Something about that giant rocky mound rising up from the surrounding flat expanse contrasted against the complimentary colored sky was so graphic and surreal. Add to that the bizarre juxtaposition of the stop sign encroaching on what once was uninhabited desert landscape, and I felt like this painting had something to say.
Awareness III ©2012 Niki Gulley
In this painting I wanted you to feel that child-like wonder of staring up in into the treetops and the heavens above. I chose vibrant, cheerful yellows contrasted against a violet blue sky filled with big, puffy clouds. And, by arranging the aspens in a circular pattern heightened by thick, curving paint strokes, that joyful, playful feeling of hope and discovery are enhanced.
Or if you’re in the Dallas / Fort Worth area this weekend, please stop by my booth, #J-5, at Southlake’s Art in the Square.
Fri. Apr. 27 • 4pm – 9pm
Sat. Apr. 28 • 10am – 9pm
Sun. Apr. 29 • 11am – 5pm
Southlake, TX • Southlake Town Square • 234 State St.